Meet the Team



Libby Nicholas


Having graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in English & Philosophy, Libby realised her true vocation when working with the Prince’s Trust leading a group of young people ‘not in education or employment.

Wanting to teach and help young people, Libby completed her PGCE and was accepted on the National Fast Track Teaching Programme ranking as one of the ‘Top Ten Nationwide Fast Track Teachers’. Progressing quickly from teaching English to increasingly senior roles, Libby has held positions such as Head of Year, Assistant Head, Head Teacher, Deputy Director of Education at the Girls’ Day School Trust and Regional Director of Education for the South & West at the Academies Enterprise Trust.

Libby’s areas of professional expertise include the delivery of school improvement, strategic organisational change, curriculum design and innovation and all aspects of teaching and learning – thinking, theory & pedagogy. She has conducted leadership development for middle and senior leaders in primary and secondary education and has also led staff development in the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

Most recently co-authoring “Understanding Leadership” and “Stronger Boards, Better Education”, Libby is committed to learning-centred leadership; securing high quality education through excellent staff development at all levels.

To this end Libby has completed the NPQH and gained a Distinction in her MBA (Masters in Business).

Dr Nicola Crossley

Executive Director of Inclusion

A research graduate from the University of Exeter, Nicola is Executive Director for Inclusion at Astrea. Her role involves working with schools to enhance the learning experience for all vulnerable learners; but particularly those who are disadvantaged and/or have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Her specialist interest areas are Autism and Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) and she is passionate about improving provision in these areas, in particular.

Her previous experience is varied having worked across Primary, Secondary, Mainstream and Specialist provision. She has worked as a Consultant Principal to two Special schools and as a School Inspector and has also written and led leadership development training for middle and senior leaders in Primary, Secondary and Special Education in England, Wales and Jersey. Her areas of professional expertise include: school improvement through action planning and impact analysis, evaluating the effectiveness of targeted interventions, and leadership development through coaching and mentoring.

With a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management, a Masters in Practice-Based Educational Research and a Doctorate in Education, Nicola has supported schools to develop their own research-based practice. Her research interests include: the impact of government reform on conceptualisations of professionalism through the lens of critical discourse analysis and factors which contribute to academic underachievement in children of compulsory school age in England.

Judith Moulsdale

Director of Finance

Judith is a CIMA qualified accountant; working in many different finance roles as a senior leader in Royal Mail, joining Astrea Academy Trust after working 9 years for Serco as an Assistant Director working with vulnerable adults. In 2013 Judith gained a Masters in Applied Criminology at Cambridge University and has a breadth of experience with leading Finance Teams through growth and ensuring financial stability.

Benedick Ashmore-Short

Executive Director of Education

Benedick Ashmore-Short was the winner of the 2014 Pearson ‘Primary Headteacher of the Year’ for the transformational work with Hamford Primary Academy. From this he was the Primary lead across a large teaching school alliance whilst continuing his work as a Principal. More recently he took up the post of Director of Education (Primary) with Astrea Academy Trust overseeing the expansion of the Trust in South Yorkshire and Cambridge and a national improvement in KS2 results of 13%. He is now the current Executive Director of Education overseeing all phases including EYFS-KS5.

Benedick has taught and led in all phases from EYFS to KS5, he is a motivational and inspirational leader who believes in empowering teaching staff and children to extend their potential. He is also a regular contributor and public speaker in the education press and education events and conferences.

Adam Goldstein

Executive Director of Operations

Adam joined Astrea from PwC in September 2016 where he had worked for eight years, working alongside organisations in the education, public and private sectors. His role was to support successful delivery of large programmes, and implementing strategic and operational change to drive efficiency and effectiveness.

Prior to working at PwC, Adam was a civil servant in the Department for Education, working on the Every Child Matters agenda, focusing on closer working practices between the education and social care sectors.

Adam has also provided pro-bono support to a range of charities tackling teenage pregnancy, reducing inequality, and widening participation in Higher Education. He is a Trustee of Macintyre, a national charity for children and adults with learning disabilities,  and is the co-chair of CommUNITY Barnet, a voluntary sector infrastructure organisation.


M Wright

Deputy Director of Education

H Jones

Deputy Director of Education

A Wrenn

Deputy Director of Education & Leader of History

T Gardiner

National Leader English

J Furness

National Leader Science

H Crawshaw

Data Intelligence Officer

K Hirst

Deputy Director of Education

K Walton / J Leishman / H Broad

Hub Executive Principals

M Basson

Governance Manager (Cambridgeshire)

J Syznal

Deputy Director of Education (Secondary)

M Neesam

National Leader of Modern Languages

V Preece

National Leader of Maths

N Jackson / E Freeman

Astrea Active

L Thompson

Head of Data Intelligence

J Gorham

Data Intelligence Officer


A Jones

National Business Manager

T Thurogood-Hyde

Head of Governance and Legal

J Chaggar

Head of Estates

T Foster

Head of HR

L Blackett

HR Manager

F Swann

HR Advisor

S Butlin

Regional Estates Manager

L Betteridge

Head of Executive Services

Astrea Academy Trust

J Porter

Payroll & Pensions Officer

R Cocking

Supernova Support Manager

F Lightfoot

Head of Fundraising

C Wilson

Estates Officer

J Gibbs

Head of Projects

A Leonard

Head of PR

L Ward

Executive Assistant to CEO

L Wilkinson

Central Office Manager

A Harris

IT Support Specialist

D Wilson

Head of IT

T Fort

Recruitment Officer


N Law

Deputy Director of Inclusion

R Selman

Safeguarding Officer

D Ivill

Supernova SEN

J Machin

National Lead for Inclusion

Astrea Academy Trust

N Reed

Supernova Specialist Teacher for SEND

L Champeau

Education Welfare Officer